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How difficult would it be to succeed in Pediatrics?

I am an 8th grader and I have always aspired to be in the medical field. The past few years I have been trying to narrow down exactly *what* kind of career I would like to pursue in said field, and I picked pediatrics, since I enjoy working with children. I have recently gotten accepted into a medical academy as my high school, and I feel that is a great stepping stone to begin perusing Pediatrics. The issue is, I am not completely sure if I have the right skills for it. I suppose I haven't gotten a chance yet, but what I really want to know if determination is enough to get myself through it. If I try my absolute best to understand my material for now, and eventually try to major in biology, will I succeed? #science #pediatrics

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Subject: Career question for you

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Andrew’s Answer

The other answers summed up a lot of the points! I would like to just add that in college you will be able to major in anything you'd like (so not only biology) while taking classes that are required for medical school admittance. Medical school is extremely competitive, but you will find peers and advisors that help you on your journey. In undergrad college, it's most important to enjoy what you study. You can major in something like psychology or math and still go to medical school! If possible, I would recommend shadowing a pediatrician to see what the job is like. There's a lot more than only working with kids, and it might help you have a better idea if it's something you want to pursue.
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Suzanne’s Answer

Kayla, it is amazing that you are already thinking in such a constructive and practical way about your career while you are still in 8th grade. I think this reflects well not only on your determination but your organizational skills. I would say that the most important thing to focus on in the coming high school years is taking and doing well in academically rigorous college-prep classes. I would assume that a medical academy high school will be strong with this type of curriculum but do be sure to speak with an academic or guidance counselor once you start there and let them know what kind of career you are considering. They can then be sure you are getting a solid course load including math, science, English, a foreign language and the other requirements for college. If you are able to take AP classes like AP biology and chemistry in. a few years that will be helpful, too.

One thing to consider is that there are many paths to a career working with children. Try to get exposure to as many as you can, either in high school or in college. Yes, medicine is probably the best known route and may well be where you end up, but there is also physical therapy, for example.

Will determination alone get you to your goal? It's a very important ingredient, I would say. Being motivated will help you stay focused on your school work. But other aspects of life are important, too. Volunteering to help others in whatever capacity is open to you, practicing kindness and compassion and (very important!) asking for help when you need it are important traits also. Good luck and please keep us posted on how you are doing.
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Kei’s Answer

Hi Kayla,

I am not a pediatrician but I wanted to congratulate you for thinking of this path to pursue this early.

I have 3 kids and we love their pediatrician. If you love working with kids then I would say go ahead and proceed with this. If you are dealing with kids, you have to be very patient and caring. Not all kids love visiting hospitals or seeing doctors especially when it's vaccine time.

You can help yourself decide by reading books or articles related to how pediatricians spend their day, what they mostly do and what their field is about.

Hope that helps! Good luck!
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Tina’s Answer

Hi Kayla,

Congratulations on focusing on a career so early.

To become a Pediatrician you will need a great background in the sciences and communication. It sounds like you are on your way with the Medical Academy you will be attending in High School.

Take advantage of guidance that is offered by high school and college counselors. College and Medical School are quite expensive so also keep on the lookout for scholarship and training/internship opportunities. You will need to take some difficult classes but remember that they are difficult for everyone - not just you. I don't know anyone who breezed through Organic Chemistry or Physiology.

You are very young so while pursuing your path towards becoming a Pediatrician - keep your options open for other careers that may suit you better. You don't need to make a final decision for a while. When I was in college I seriously considered becoming a doctor. I took a class In Immunology and it lit up my brain and enthusiasm. I got a PhD in Immunology and Microbiology. I had a great career and do not regret taking a different path.

Best of Luck!


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David’s Answer

Dear Kayla,

Two thoughts immediately jumped to mind when I read your question.
1. Medical education exposes you to medical fields and specialties that I bet you haven't heard of or thought about yet. If you do go on to be a physician, I strongly urge you to keep an open mind about how you want to spend your professional life.
2. While I am not a pediatrician, I was always impressed that the field had the possibility to really alter the course of your patients' lives over a very long horizon. What a privilege.

Every field in medicine has its own difficulties, rewards and frustrations. No matter what you decide to do, in medicine or not, I hope you find the passion and enjoyment that makes work fulfilling and meaningful to you.
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